Watch out, Google. A recently published patent application reveals that Sony’s head mounted display glasses are progressing down the evolutionary path rather nicely. What once amounted to just wide-eyed concepts, this latest patent filing, a continuation patent filed on November 14, 2012, shows that Sony, with perhaps a bit of inspiration for Google Glass, is nearing a practical model. And unlike Google’s take on HMDs, Sony’s has information displays for both eyes.
This isn’t the first patent to reveal Sony’s HMD aspirations. A patent published in the summer of 2012 shows a futuristic device — it looks like something from a made-for-TV sci-fi movie. The device in that patent has two lens, not connected by a traditional bridge, with each lens acting also serving as a display. There are cameras and battery packs and the works. This is, after all, just a concept.
Sony’s most recent patent is a more practical take on HMD glasses. They’re built on a traditional glasses frame in a sort of Google Glass fashion. The actual pop-up display sits behind the glasses’ lenses and, as previously mentioned, there are two displays along with ear buds mounted on little arms.
The patent doesn’t reveal any information on the displayed content, but it does state it’s a 2D interface. The screens are also movable by several millimeters, allowing the wearing to fine tune the placement.
Sony has long history with head mounted displays and augmented reality units including commercially available home entertainment devices like the HMZ-T2 Personal 3d Viewer. This recent filing is a continuation on patents filed in 2008 and 2009; Sony has been working on this particular device for a significant amount of time. A bunch of recent patent filings show the company is committed to these devices. Google is not alone in this space.
The war for your eyes is about to take on a whole new meaning.
This is a brand new market. There is enough room for Sony, Google and likely several companies quietly building their own head mounted displays. Each company has unique strengths. Google has the advantage of its all-knowing, always-connected services. Sony has been building world-class hardware for 50 years — and has a dynamic new CEO in Kazuo Hirai.